NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council on Thursday approved an ambitious new pay raise plan which will also see a partial restructuring of the NOPD. But while police are praising the plan, the money is not yet secure.
Attrition has been one of the major stumbling blocks in boosting the ranks of the NOPD for nearly a decade, but that may be about to change. The New Orleans City Council just approved a 10 percent police pay raise plan that increase pay for a "Police Officer 1," as civil service calls it, from $42,400 a year to nearly $46,900. Sergeant pay would see a big boost from $54,400 to nearly $63,200 a year. Captain's pay would increase from $68,900 a year to $77,000.
"This is overdue, but I'm glad we're getting it done," said Councilman Jason Williams.
The new plan also provides incentives for officers to get college degrees. It calls for a restructuring of the department, setting up detective and patrol divisions that keep good patrol officers on patrol and good detectives investigating crime without having to be transferred to get a raise.
"All of the officers will get a pay raise, patrol positions will be consolidated," said NOPD Chief Michael Harrison. "We've created a new corporal position with a 10 percent raise for it, and a 10 percent raise for all detectives."
But there's a problem. The pay raise money is not in the bank yet, and it's tied to what's taking place here at the foot of Poydras Street.
"There is no funding stream that's certain right now," said Councilwoman Stacy Head.
The $9.2 million a year needed to fund the raises won't be realized until a deal to redevelop the World Trade Center is approved by the board of the World Trade Center. Some worry that the board won't let the money go, but the mayor's office is optimistic.
"We are confident we can effectuate it and move those funds to the city," said Deputy Mayor Jeff Hebert.
If all goes well, the raises will go into effect on Christmas Eve.
"By announcing this raise the rate, we've already seen a 20 percent slowing of attrition," Harrison said.
And that could go a long way in helping the department reach long-elusive staffing goals.
Harrison said since he began running the department, officers have been approved for 25 percent pay raises.
The new pay plan also provides incentives for officers to attend college.